Raisin bread

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Raisin bread
Cinnamon swirl raisin bread.jpg
Raisin bread with cinnamon sugar swirled in the dough
Type Sweet bread
Main ingredients Grain, Raisins, Yeast[1]

Raisin bread is a type of bread made with raisins and flavored with cinnamon. It is "usually a white flour or egg dough bread".[2] Aside from white flour, raisin bread is also made with other flours, such as all-purpose flour, oat flour, or whole wheat flour. Some recipes include honey, brown sugar, eggs, or butter.[3] Variations of the recipe include the addition of walnuts,[4] hazelnuts,[5] pecans[6] or, for a dessert, rum or whisky.[7][8]

Raisin bread is eaten in many different forms, including being served toasted for breakfast ("raisin toast") or made into sandwiches.[9] Some restaurants serve raisin bread with their cheeseboards.[10]


Its invention has been popularly though incorrectly attributed to Henry David Thoreau[11][12][nb 1] in Concord, Massachusetts lore, but there have been published recipes for bread with raisins since 1671.[13] Since the 15th century, breads made with raisins were made in Europe. In Germany stollen was a Christmas bread. Kulich was an Easter bread made in Russia and panettone was made in Italy.[14] The earliest citation for "raisin bread" in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated to an 1845 article in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.[15] In England, raisin bread became a common element of high tea from the second half of the 19th century.[16] In the 1920s, raisin bread was advertised as "The Bread Of Iron", due to the high iron content of the raisins.[17] The bread became increasingly popular among English bakers in the 1960s.[18]


A loaf of raisin challa

European versions of raisin bread include the Estonian "kringel"[19] and the Slovakian "vianocka".[20] A similar food is raisin challah, a traditional Jewish food for Shabbat and holidays.[21] It has been suggested that Garibaldi biscuits were based on a raisin bread that was eaten by the troops of Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi.[22]


The United States Code of Federal Regulations specifies standards that raisin bread produced in the country must meet. This includes a requirement for the weight of the raisins to be equal to 50% of the weight of flour used.[23] Raisin bread is one of five types of bread for which federal standards have been outlined.[24]

In cosmology[edit]

The ways in which individual raisins move during rising and baking of the bread is often used as an analogy to explain the expansion of the universe.[25][26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Walter Harding wrote in his biography of Henry Thoreau that the man had created raisin bread. Author Ken Jennings writes: "It seems the eminent Professor Harding was taken in by, of all things, a story in a 1943 Ladies' Home Journal article, which got its delicious, raisiny facts from a longstanding legend in Thoreau's hometown of Concord, Massachusetts... Ultimately Harding recanted his claims in a 1990 Thoreau Society Bulletin titled 'Thoreau and Raisin Bread.'"[13]


  1. ^ Charel Scheele (October 12, 2011). Old World Breads and the History of a Flemish Baker. iUniverse. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4620-5472-5.
  2. ^ Mark Bricklin, ed. (1994). Prevention Magazine's Nutrition Advisor: The Ultimate Guide to the Health-Boosting and Health-Harming Factors in Your Diet. Rodale. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-87596-225-2.
  3. ^ Mark Bricklin; The Editors of Prevention Magazine (15 August 1994). Prevention Magazine's Nutrition Advisor: The Ultimate Guide to the Health-Boosting and Health-Harming Factors in Your Diet. Rodale. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-87596-225-2.
  4. ^ "Delia skims the goalpost". The Independent on Sunday. 25 June 2000.
  5. ^ Miers, Thomasina (15 December 2007). "Party season's big dippers". The Times.
  6. ^ Richardson, Belinda (25 June 2005). "'We could be in the lounge bar of an ocean-going liner'". The Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ "10 top spots near the shops". The Times. 15 December 2007.
  8. ^ Ferrier, Clare (13 September 2008). "The Royal Oak, Brookland". The Daily Telegraph.
  9. ^ Hensperger, Beth (2000). The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. Harvard Common Press. p. 449. ISBN 978-1-55832-156-4.
  10. ^ Mclean, Neil (27 June 2004). "If this is a diet, count me in". The Sunday Times.
  11. ^ "What Did Thoreau Really Eat? You Might Be Surprised". National Public Radio. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  12. ^ Dolis, J. (2005) Tracking Thoreau: double-crossing nature and technology p.32. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press ISBN 0-8386-4045-1 Retrieved January 2012
  13. ^ a b Ken Jennings (September 12, 2006). Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs. Random House Publishing Group. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-58836-552-1.
  14. ^ "History of Raisins and Dried Fruit". Sun Maid. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  15. ^ "raisin, n." Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  16. ^ Wilson, Bee (9 March 2002). "There's nothing 'high' about high tea". The Times.
  17. ^ "The Bread of Iron (advertisement)" (PDF). The Sunday Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. September 18, 1921. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  18. ^ Woodland, John (20 October 1967). "Price blow to raisin traders in UK". The Times.
  19. ^ Brûlé, Tyler (27 December 2008). "Things to do, places to go". The Financial Times.
  20. ^ Gill, Jaime (22 November 2008). "A winter affair". The Guardian.
  21. ^ Phyllis Glazer; Miriyam Glazer (March 29, 2011). The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking. HarperCollins. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-06-204121-0.
  22. ^ Vallely, Paul (30 June 2007). "Garibaldi: The First Global Action Hero". The Independent.
  23. ^ "Section 136.160 - Raisin bread, rolls, and buns". Code of Federal Regulations. 1 April 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Taking the wraps off bread". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. May 1982. p. 40. ISSN 1528-9729.
  25. ^ "What does it mean when they say the universe is expanding?". Everyday Mysteries: Fun Science Facts from the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress. August 23, 2010. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  26. ^ NASA/WMAP Science Team (March 25, 2013). "Tests of Big Bang: Expansion". WMAP's Universe. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved November 26, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]